What do you do when you have zero product, zero service, and zero to say? You mobilize the masses.

Toronto-based Globalive Communications hopes to be the next major wireless company in Canada by asking consumers what they want in a wireless provider. (A formidable task given that there are a handful of biggies with a stronghold on the Canadian mobile market via long-term contracts.) Now that Globalive has successfully acquired a license to build a cross-country wireless network (excluding Quebec), it wants to pry Canadians out of their cell service headlock. But the company is making sure it’s up to the challenge.

At the heart of its social media campaign is, a website that asks consumers to vent their cell service frustrations. They can rant about their mobile issues and engage in online discussions with Anthony Lacavera, CEO of Globalive. Given that finding a consumer-centric telco is like discovering a diamond in a dung heap, this is pretty darn cool.

In September 2008, Globalive and Toronto PR agency Narrative launched the campaign targeting Canadian cell phone users. ‘We’d seen that wireless was an issue that Canadians had a lot of opinions on – a lot of strong opinions. We felt that Wireless Soapbox would be a great way to harness that kind of dialogue,’ says Lindsay Mattick Davidson, director of PR at Narrative Advocacy Media.

Wireless Soapbox also called on techie ‘armchair engineers’ to provide advice on network design. The site used blogs, surveys, quick polls, RSS feeds and widgets, while off-site components involved Facebook and Twitter. ‘Having a meaningful dialogue with our future customers is allowing us to develop our offering in a way that truly meets their needs,’ says Lacavera.

The whole operation came together in only three weeks, and within the first few days the site had over 6,000 visitors. For the first two months there was no paid advertising and the majority of website traffic was driven through the media. More than 8,500 comments have been posted since the launch. We’re hoping that maybe, just maybe, this might be a wake-up call to cell phone providers everywhere – PAY ATTENTION TO US.


The night isn’t just for monsters and make-out sessions anymore, it’s for visionaries too. In support of Earth Hour 2009, WWF Canada and Montreal agency Bleublancrouge summoned 400 artists, graphic designers, architects, urban planners and citizens for ‘Ideas in the Dark’ – an evening of in-the-dark brainstorm and artistic revelry. The March event was created to elicit climate change cures and encourage Earth Hour participation. Big thinkers put their heads together (probably literally, given the poor visibility) to deliberate the condition of poor mamma earth.

This mega mix of art and idea-generation was complemented by a Facebook group and a website that can only be read (get this) in the dark. Montreal citizens jumped into the think-tank by posting their green suggestions on a ‘Post-it mosaic,’ birthing seven initiatives to ensure Montreal’s devotion to eco-creativity.

One initiative, ‘Montreal is an Island of Change,’ involves a city-wide swap to curb excessive waste. The shindig also instigated the first ever ‘flashlight mob’ with manually-powered mini lights. The throng was meant to shed light on musicians, but resulted in a massive choreographed music and light show. The entire event was streamed live on the site.

Ideas in the Dark was extensively covered by Quebecois media and generated buzz across the globe. Montreal’s civic leaders were inspired to raise awareness for Earth Hour and establish Montreal as one of the most ‘eco-creative’ cities in the world. Bleublancrouge hopes the event will become an annual affair. ‘The goal was to turn a simple gesture into a habit, and that, to us, is what changes the course of things,’ says Justin Kingsley, Blueblancrouge VP.

How did this all come about, you ask? Kingsley describes an after-work brainstorm with CD Gaëtan Namouric during a wintery Montreal evening. The neon pulse of office light had subsided, and the sun threatened to cast the agency into darkness – then inspiration struck. And their brainstorm in the dark sparked Ideas in the Dark. C’est parfait!

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